As someone learning to write, I was always taught, "write what you know about." Certainly you can understand the intention of the advice, but the fact is that everyone who writes, writes about what s/he doesn't know ... i.e. takes what is known and runs it through a personal-experience prism that may or may not betoken what is actually known.
Lately, for example, I have been surrounded by what it is and what it means to get old. There are pills and doctors and wrinkles and aches and pains, but the fact is that I don't really know what it means; I don't really know what I know (outside of being rather crabby about it all). It's my first time, so I can't be expected to be an expert, but still, since it is happening to me, you'd think I'd have some sort of handle on the situation. But the fact is, I don't.
In the past, when I have written about something, there has been a vague sense of certainty that accompanied the activity: I knew more or less what I wanted to say and had more or less good arguments to back it up. I did not feel as if there were no hand-holds.
I can recognize that this new shimmer that things seem to have is closer to a realistic approach to life -- every moment is born, grows old and dies in a nanosecond -- but in the past I was content to IMAGINE I was being realistic instead of BEING realistic. In imagination, there was right and wrong, better and worse, more and less compassionate ... a whole wardrobe of personality and person-hood hung neatly in the 'me' closet. But in old age, things fall away, dissipate and lose their importance.
It is odd -- all of it. And I feel somewhat shy talking about it, as if, at this tea party called life, no one ever said shit with his mouthful ... bad manners, dontcha know? Everyone eats white-bread cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off and smiles in accord with a smiley occasion... politics, children, profession, death, divorce, philosophy, religion, gardening, aeronautics, marriage, race horses ... etc.
It's all so much easier when you imagine and agree...yummy little sandwiches.
But without imagination ... well, from the imaginative perspective, it's hard.